General Aviation

“This is Major!” 2021 is ending with incredible FBO Sales and Consolidations!

By November 18, 2021November 29th, 2021No Comments

It was almost a year ago, December, 2020 when news broke of Signature Flight Support being purchased: Blackstone made a £3 billion offer (USD $4,000,000,000) to acquire the largest FBO chain in the world! This was then followed by the announcement that private equity group KKR was purchasing the competitor, the second largest FBO chain in the world, Atlantic Aviation!

The two major FBO chains were now under new ownership with substantial financial power and backing. Now fast forward to October 12, 2021 at the annual NBAA Convention in Las Vegas. Rumors abounding, whispers, major acquisitions were in play! At this years convention, whispers were heard that other transactions were in play. And FBO Advisors used its sources, contacts, and industry insiders to seek out further information on who was being sold, and who is buying!

Here is what we learned, and what is of high interest to all in our industry! Each of the major FBO chains, Signature, Atlantic, Ross, Modern, and Sheltair all told us that they had acquisitions in process but were unable to disclose any details for competitive purposes.

… And then the announcements began! And what announcements! Never before such sales activity, post the Blackstone and KKR acquisitions!

  • Atlantic Aviation buying Ross Aviation – 19 locations! Atlantic buying Lynx (still unconfirmed, but likely) – 7 locations! (We did learn that the Links small FBO chain is being acquired, likely by Atlantic Aviation. No one would confirm as of yet however but there is little doubt it is under contract according to our sources.)
  • Modern Aviation was acquiring the five New York locations of Sheltair!
  • Modern Aviation taking over the Signature Centennial (Denver) Airport expiring lease for expansion when the original Signature 30 year old lease expires in 2022! (FBO Advisors Principals put this transaction together originally 30 years ago . . .).
  • Modern Aviation signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hill Aviation LLC, which includes FBO and MRO operations at Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (Isla Grande Airport/TJIG) in San Juan, Puerto Rico and a satellite FBO operation at Jose Aponte de la Torre Airport (TJRV) in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Signature (rumored – not yet formally announced) buying Vail Valley Jet Center – a blockbuster acquisition of a premium sole source location (still yet to be confirmed but likely).
  • Ross purchasing several more individual FBOs before closing its sale to Atlantic in first or second quarter 2022.
  • And many more individual FBO sale rumors which we expect to be announced in the coming month of December.

Just as we commented just a year ago in December 2020, once again a flurry of questions naturally arise such as:

  • What does this mean for the US FBO industry?
  • What is the impact this will bring on FBO values, sales, and activities?
  • Which US locations need to be divested because of competition concerns and the need for US Department of Justice Anti-Trust approval with the FBO acquisitions? (We know two FBO’s need to be divested for the Atlantic acquisition of Ross. (Perhaps a few others in other transactions.) •
  • Will these flurry of acquisition set a new “benchmark” for higher FBO pricing and transactions and other FBO businesses?
  • What is the market significance of such volume of blockbuster acquisitions in the middle of an unknown continuing worldwide pandemic future of which we are still navigating?
  • And many more questions and ramifications . . .

Our discussion of these and other questions follows in our next blog as we mull over the ramifications of this historic activity in our FBO arena at the close of 2021! Stay tuned!

“These are days of Miracle and Wonder . . .” Paul Simon

Please feel free to direct comments to us on our views and opinions cited . . . thank you!

FBO Sales and ConsultingFBO Advisors, LLC
Serving the FBO industry for more than 40 years


Here are the actual announcements by Modern Aviation this past few weeks: Modern Aviation NEW YORK, Oct. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Modern Aviation, a New York based company, today announced it has a definitive agreement with Sheltair Aviation, the nation’s largest privately-owned aviation network, to acquire the operations and facilities underlying Sheltair’s five New York FBOs following the review and approval of appropriate government agencies.

Sheltair’s President Lisa Holland, stated, “During the past year, we received an unsolicited overture from Modern Aviation that compelled us to review our role in New York at a time when we are significantly enlarging our national footprint in other parts of the country. Modern Aviation became an obvious and appropriate buyer given their corporate presence in New York, their track record of excellence at major airports elsewhere in the country, and their roster of respected professionals with extensive experience in the New York aviation community.”

As noted, the agreement is subject to review and approval of various government agencies.

The Sheltair properties under contract include those at LaGuardia, JFK, Westhampton, Republic/Farmingdale, and Long Island MacArthur Airports.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. and NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Modern Aviation today announced it has closed the acquisition of certain leasehold improvements from The SunBorne Companies at Centennial Airport. The leasehold improvements include a 62,000 square foot, three story office building at 8001 InterPort Boulevard, which houses several tenants as well as the Signature Flight Support FBO Terminal at Centennial Airport, and a 38,000 square feet hangar complex at 8123 InterPort Boulevard, primarily leased by Signature for its FBO operation. The acquisition also includes a ground sublease on 318,652 square feet of land underlying the properties mentioned above and parking and other areas.

Also, as part of the acquisition, Modern Aviation will take over the FBO currently operated by Signature Flight Support at the expiration or earlier termination of its current operating agreement. This would enable Modern Aviation to consolidate the entire south side of Centennial Airport under Modern Aviation’s FBO operation and give Modern the largest FBO footprint at Centennial airport.

NEW YORK, Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Modern Aviation today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hill Aviation LLC, which includes FBO and MRO operations at Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (Isla Grande Airport/TJIG) in San Juan, Puerto Rico and a satellite FBO operation at Jose Aponte de la Torre Airport (TJRV) in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, from Tommy Hill and VRM Companies. The Propilot aircraft management and charter business will remain based at Isla Grande Airport.